Christmas Day marked for many not only the end of a year, but the end of an era. Downton Abbey fans, spread across the country, tossed the presents aside and tuned in at 22:45 to say a final farewell to the cast they had grown to know and love.
For five years now, our Sunday evenings have been spent laughing and crying with the infamous Crawley family. Curled up in front of the TV, cup of tea in hand (because what’s more British than Downton Abbey and tea?!), we wished for nothing more than to travel back to a time of fine gowns, servants and glorious dinner parties. I have no doubt that the early 20th Century will forever be characterised by the lives of the Crawley sisters and their relation’s.
The final showdown went off actually without a bang, as it were. After several ups and downs throughout the show, including the deaths of the beloved Sybil and Matthew Crawley, the illegitimate child of Lady Edith and the ongoing disputes between the two sisters, it was pleasing to see a final episode that tied all loose ends together. For sure, there were heart stopping moments when we thought Thomas may leave for good, Carson would be forced from his home or Lady Edith would lose the happiness she so rightly deserved, but the producers had our hearts in mind with a final scene that saw all characters settled and ready to progress with their lives. As the notes of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ rang through our living rooms, we had our final glance of Downton Abbey in all its state and glory. So with everyone married off and settled, we are left now to strive for our own happy endings.
Although it is the end for the characters, it certainly is not the end for the cast. Already this week the second episode of Lily James’ (played Lady Rose) new role in ‘War and Peace’, BBC 1, was shown where she plays a teenage aristocrat surrounded by the complications of young love during the Napoleonic Wars. Michelle Dockery too has her eyes on new horizons, keeping in line with the strong-willed, troublesome role she assumed in Downton, she will be playing the role of a con-artist in TNT’s ‘Good Behaviour’- a role slightly out of sync with the ball gowns and stately homes she is used to, I think! Laura Carmichael is staying in the late 19th Century with her role as Henrietta, in a new film adaption of Flaubert’s ‘Madame Bovary’, alongside Ezra Miller and Henry Lloyd-Hughes. It is far from the final time we will see the cast on screen then, and with the television series ending, the rumours about a Downton Abbey film are gaining more and more momentum. We live in hope that perhaps the characters have not said their final words just yet.